Writing this is stirring up many memories for me. While there were some extreme lows that I have glossed over, I had a lot of fun as a kid. It’s a nice feeling.
This is me in December 2010. I was 15 at the time. I had a bit of an eating disorder. Someone said something mean to me on social media, so I starved myself. Also, you can see my texting phone, and I’m in my bathroom.
I printed out this extra works cited page for fun. I got in trouble over it, but not at all for the reason you think. When I got to class the day the paper was due, Ben didn’t have a works cited page. I gave him this one, and he used a sharpie to cover “Fucking”. There’s several errors in how I cited those sources, however, so the teacher caught us cheating. I figured since everyone’s works cited would be the same since we were restricted to the class texts that it wouldn’t really matter since all he did was forget to do it. Thankfully our teacher was understanding.
We just lost the game.
It was also this time that I got myself a laptop and installed a GBA emulator on it. I got really into Advance Wars for awhile. This is a modded version of the game. As you can see, my strategy involves spamming units. I will send wave after wave of my men to their death.
There were a lot of long bus rides for band. We all had to learn how to sleep on a bus. The upper class was usually wise enough to bring sleeping supplies for the bus on the ten hour rides.
So, I did not understand coffee machines, nor coffee for that matter. So I put the machine in the sink and turned on the tap to put water in the top part. Then I emptied a packet of hot cocoa mix with marshmallows into the top. Some minutes later smoke began to come out of the machine, so we unplugged it.
Heather introduced me to the webcomic Scandinavia and the World. We associated each country with a member of our clique. I was Finland. That’s why my middle name is Suomi.
We helped Pappy set up his new place. I saw the ladder as a photo op.
We had some nice pseudo-snowbanks thanks to the plows. AJ liked to brag about his lack of feeling in his hands and feet, and demonstrated by freezing himself.
My dad wanted to learn how to make music, so we took the old Casio keyboard to the basement and I started teaching him. This is my visual aid for explaining how time is represented by notes.
As a kid, I always wanted to explore the ravine behind the house. As a teen, I got to do it. Maybe this is where my preference for natural environments comes from.
Cat appears again in this photo. The cat with stripes was Blanket. She showed up in the garage and kept coming back. We started putting out food for it, and it started to live in the garage. Then winter came and we brought it inside.
I’ve enjoyed decorating walls for a long time. This is about how full it got before I started over. The clock from the choir classroom was a nice touch.
I convinced my dad to buy a set of Whitehall drums when they were on sale at the pawn shop. While small and not the best sounding, they worked very well for learning the basics. I also taught my dad how to drum, and somewhat succeeded in connecting the rhythmic concepts from what he learned on the keyboard to the drums.
Since I love balloons, my mom filled my room with balloons on my sixteenth birthday. My mom is the best; she’s always done so much for my sister and I. Writing this series is once again showing me how much she did, since very little would be possible without her.
We had a guitar battle at my birthday party as well. My Squire did not have the tone necessary, and my amp lacked volume. But Tristan was much more experienced than me, and he was nice about how much better he was at playing guitar.
A lot happened between the three of us. AJ and I met playing tuba together and became close friends. Unrelated, I also became friends with a girl from Hanna’s class, Heather. She sat with us at lunch. She was also in band, and about as obsessed as AJ and I, so we became quite the trio. At first she despised him, and he teased her, but one night both of them texted me asking me to ask the other one out for them. Here we’re playing basketball at my sixteenth birthday party.
My sister got me a weed blanket. I was considered “naturally stoned” at the time, as I didn’t do any drugs, but I had the chill of someone who had weed.
These are baby jellyfish. My girlfriend and I loved jellyfish, so we went to the Shedd Aquarium and visited their special jellyfish exhibit. I also got to touch a starfish. That was a good day.
Cat grew up, but he didn’t become much smarter. The couch behind him is the one I have the longest experience with of any couch. When I was very young, we had a green sectional sofa with cupholders. It was in not the best condition, so my parents saved and bought new furniture. We weren’t allowed to eat or drink on it. Then water was okay. Then any drinks. Then foods that aren’t too messy. And eventually messy food that got between the cushions. Also the pattern always looked like octopus to me.
Chloe and Morgan gave me a makeover and some clothes. This photo was in Morgan’s basement. We tried to start a band a few times, but it never came together. At this point, due in large part to my girlfriend, I dropped most concert band instruments and picked up the rock band.
Not that these are great representations of political positions, but here’s where I was on the compass in September 2011. I mostly just want people to be free. That’s what I’ve always wanted.
I got in trouble for posting this one. I guess it’s sacrilegious to blow a Jesus figurine. We called this figurine “Party Jesus” because, as you can see, his hands are in the air, not nailed to the cross. My girlfriend got in trouble, first for putting it in her pants and saying she had Jesus in her pants, then when asked where she got it, the counselor said, “Heard ya stole it.” We did steal it, from the Buck Stop.
As I played more, I wanted more guitars. The one on the far left is an acoustic guitar. I don’t really use those much. The next is my 7-string. It’s useful for deathcore and otherwise going lower than your average guitar. The next one was a fun BC Rich guitar. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I like to have one 6-string that’s just easy and fun to play. The one on the far right is a bass.
In tenth grade we had to come up with an argument using logos, pathos, and ethos. I said it’d be really easy to just use the Democratic platform. Originally it was a joke, but then I realized the things I was saying ironically actually made a lot of sense.
My next-door neighbor died in 2004 or 5. I forget which. In the years that followed, I took friends to the old barn and house to explore. This is an old drumset, which is pretty neat.
I got into My Little Pony during season one and most of season two. I shipped Flutterdash because I was like Fluttershy and my girlfriend was like Rainbow Dash. One time I had an MLP party. I invited someone from Facebook who I knew liked ponies, but whom I did not know in real life. I like joke invites, and letting people see what’s going on even if they can’t make it because they’re very far away. Well, this guy came. He had the most MLP merch I’d ever seen, and he came from the next city over to watch the show with some strangers.
My fashion sense had a ways to evolve. Also you can see the red paint creeping onto the white wall. My dad asked me so many times if I wanted it refinished, and I always declined, but he never seemed to remember. Once I moved out he finished it the way he likes.
I was in a band, Chosen Retribution, you can like us on Facebook. We recorded an EP, which required a trip to Chicago. Kelso brought a bag of frozen sliders. He also brought his guitar, despite his being the singer of the band.
Here’s a display of my priorities in tenth grade. I gave up rather quickly on writing my paper to play Runescape. I ended up writing it later, anyway. Also, this was when SOPA/PIPA/ACTA were a thing we needed to stop.
For maybe a month I wore that bow everyday. I really liked putting bows in my hair senior year. I got a bunch for my birthday from my girlfriend, but my dad threw them away because he thought they were age-inappropriate. I’m not sure what he thought he accomplished, since I was perfectly capable of buying more. Also in this era I wear a pendant or necklace every day.
In March 2012, my sister informed me that she hates the word “scoop”. I proceeded to send her every instance of it that I encountered, and I nicknamed her “Scoopie”. I’m amazed it caught on, but eventually I had to be told to tone it down because she was getting hurt.
For eleventh grade, I went to Connections Academy. It was an online charter school, and the requirements to pass classes were an absolute joke. I spent most of that time playing Guitar Hero.
I tried being blonde. It was bad. We fixed it within the week. Also, there’s a drawing of me on the wall behind me.
I did at least get to learn how to use Blender from the online school. With step-by-step instructions, it’s not so hard. That seems to be a general rule in life.
Bows weren’t enough for me. I had to add extensions. Colorful ones, with textures nothing like my hair. Also I’m in my thick eyeliner phase here.
Memes were evolving. What came to be called advice animals became very popular. They all followed this format of striped background, top and bottom text, and a face in the middle. I liked the cat because it always gave very bad ideas.
The university in town had some musicians visiting from China. I bought their album.
Another annual volunteering event was leaf raking. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Well, the activity was raking leaves. It wasn’t unpleasant like it usually is, though, because everyone got to hang out with friends while we did it. And the yards went very quickly with forty or so of us piling and bagging the leaves. Yes, we did throw each other into leaf piles a lot. It actually doesn’t destroy them as much as the cartoons would have you think.
As mentioned, we were very into My Little Pony for awhile. For Halloween 2012, I was Fluttershy and she was Rainbow Dash.
I really liked taking pictures in the mirror. Anyway, this is me in November 2012. I really liked that sweatshirt on me because it made me look softer. I learned to not overkill the eyeliner, and I plucked my brows.
Since I only needed English 12 to graduate at the start of my senior year, I figured I’d fill the day with fun classes. Some students tried to finish high school early, but I figured that just meant starting work early, which I did not want to do. I drew this in the introductory art class. I include it to show how my drawing skills are progressing. The hot air balloons were a nice touch. I have no idea where this drawing is now, nor if it even exists.
Ms. Yelton was my twelfth grade Precalculus teacher. She let me work ahead, so I finished all of the homework for the class months in advance and got to use the hour for other work. It also occurred to me at the time that the only person I would talk with in the class was the teacher. Apparently it’s also weird to get them Christmas presents after grade school.
Ms. Ruiz was the Art teacher. She was kind and knowledgeable, which helped me greatly in establishing my foundational art skills. She also shared a book on hieroglyphics with me, and I incorporated them into my art.
Mr. Pritchet was the band director. A dedicated group of students called him “dad” so often that at the end of the year he caved and told them they’re all his children. He was a really great teacher for me. He really cared about the quality of the music we made, and he let that passion override the restrictive structures public high school teachers usually have to work within. One night during marching band practice it started pouring rain, so he told us to march back inside, double time. He told me in particular to mow down the people in front of me if necessary. He could summon a lot of energy in us. One night during jazz band practice, people were talking while he counted off and generally sounded unpracticed. He yelled at us for a few minutes and then ended the practice, hours early. All of his grievances were addressed at the next practice. For a moment, a few people were talking while he was counting off. He asked if he needed to cancel another practice and they quickly complied. Also, I should probably remember a story involving the actual music education. He did lend me a bass guitar after I tried out for jazz band on a double bass. I hadn’t played the instrument yet, but I still got the part. His high expectations really drilled the skills into us. It wasn’t uncommon to play only one measure, repeatedly, during an hour of practice. Each part had to be played excellently. Sometimes we needed to experiment to figure out what sounded best. I could go on.
In December 2012 I began my first cardigan phase. Life was generally pretty alright that month. Decembers are usually good for me. But Novembers are trainwrecks, so it’s a ride from the bottom to the top.
I put a lot of stuff in the attic. This was the first time I didn’t have my bed against a wall on one of its long sides. I think doing it this way adds flow to the room. It’s how I always design it in The Sims. Having fewer items helped me focus on developing the skills I wanted to and not get distracted by trivial things.
I got into a lot of arguments on Facebook. Comment threads would go on for weeks. Anyhow, I also used MS Paint to illustrate my point sometimes. This is one from an argument in which I supported gun control.
There was always an old TV in the garage. I’d often spend hours in a rocking chair watching whatever was on. For the longest time there was a monochromatic (everything is shades of gray) TV with knobs to tune into different channels.
I took a picture of all of my money in February 2013. The bills being all crumpled up is a nice touch. I did often carry cash as a scrunched up ball of bills that I peeled off for payment. In 2014 I finally made the switch to card because I had to have a bank account to get paid for my job that summer.
I tried using a shirt as a skirt. I was taking a class on fashion and textile design at the time. I really enjoyed sewing and making clothes and other fabric items. I tried a few times to get my own machine but never had the right table for it, and every secondhand machine I acquired was missing some piece. Also, part of the curriculum was basically how to dress well, which is an interesting thing to be teaching high schoolers. Home Ec is totally underrated.
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